It's always a good idea to have a pack of mints on hand, especially right after a cup of coffee or a lunch made with loads of garlic. Whether you're going on a date, to the dentist, or to an interview, bad breath is a major faux pas and totally avoidable. Simply pop a mint! But not just any old mint — homemade ones not only freshen your breath but can give you a sense of pride every time you need one.
As for those mints, if you're a fan of the "curiously strong" Altoids, you might be surprised to know that they're pretty easy to make. Yes, with just a few basic ingredients, some empty tins, and a plastic straw, you can make your own homemade Altoids. Using a recipe for DIY Altoids from One Good Thing by Jillee, YouTuber Taylor Martin from MOD takes a crack at making some mini mints and the result is a tasty success.
While it took more than 200 years for Altoids to introduce its first peppermint variety, it only took another two for it to greenlight its second. Wintergreen Altoids, released in 1997, was the company's first new flavor, followed by cinnamon in 1999 and even more soothing varieties in subsequent years. In 2004, a "Curiously Strong Sours" line debuted with flavors like citrus, tangerine, and apple. This line, in particular, developed a loyal following (to this day there are petitions calling for their return), but like ginger, liquorice, cool honey, and chocolate-dipped Altoids, the sours were discontinued.
Today, there are four basic Altoid flavors: peppermint, wintergreen, spearmint, and cinnamon (not to mention the "curiously cool" mints, arctic peppermint, arctic wintergreen, and arctic strawberry). Altoids peppermint is the No. 1 mint in the US, but Taylor Martin from MOD tried out lemon peppermint in his demonstration. (Jillee also chose peppermint, along with lemon and wild orange.)
So let's get started with making some retro Altoid mints, sours, and sweets. First the ingredients:
As for the process, it's really quite simple. Warm the gum paste in your hands until it's soft and in a workable form. Next, knead a few drops of oil and food coloring into it:
Roll it out like dough until it's the proper Altoids thickness (but it's really up to you):
Then use the straw like a cookie cutter to cut out the "mints." Note that you'll need some way to pop the gum paste out of the straw and blowing them out is easy enough.
One modification that MOD made was cutting the mints into squarish shapes, as an alternative mint form. With the gum paste rolled out, strips were cut and then cut again horizontally across. The caveat is that as squares, the mints don't look as cool or anything like Altoids. The reason behind the idea, however, was that the straw-as-cookie cutter method required one to repeat the rolling process a few times to ensure all the gum paste was used. The squares were a timesaver.
The final step in the process is to dust the mints with powdered sugar; just enough so that they don't stick together. Let them dry for a few days and voilà, Altoids from home. You can make as many colors and flavors as you want. As you'll find, there's no shortage of oils to choose from, including peppermint, lemon, watermelon, or root beer.
This DIY project is fun and quick, and the mini mints can be made for your own personal use (remember to keep them on hand), but they're also a great idea for a thank-you gift or a party favor and they're sure to lead to questions like, "You made these? But how?"
Well, first you'll need some gum paste.
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